It's time for roll call of champions
With the local racing season at an end, it’s time to begin looking at the area track champions.
This week, I’ll cover the full-sized, open-wheel classes. The area has three overall point series for three classes of racing.
Last week I covered Greg Hodnett’s seventh Speedway Motors/Champion Racing Oil Central Pennsylvania Sprint Car title. On his way to that title, Hodnett also won the Williams Grove sprint car point title. Among the Spring Grove driver’s 18 wins this year were the three that led to his fourth Williams Grove sprint car crown.
In the Capital Renegade 358 Sprint Series, Doug Hammaker secured his first series title. The third-generation driver won six races this season on his way to winning the overall series title. His father, Dale Hammaker, was a multi-time 358 sprint champion in the area. Doug Hammaker also won his first career Lincoln 358 sprint title this season. Three of his six wins came at Lincoln.
On the super sportsman tour, Frankie Herr continued to add to his amazing record. His title this season was his 14th on the tour. Herr won three times this season. At the close of the year, Herr announced that he probably wouldn’t be racing with the sportsman racers next season, but left his options open for other classes of racing. Herr is a past 358 sprint champion and has also raced with the 410 sprints.
At the 410 sprint tracks, Brian Montieth claimed his fifth career Lincoln point crown. Six wins led Montieth to the track title there, which was his first since 2011. With five titles at Lincoln, Montieth trails only 11-time champion Fred Rahmer and nine-time champion Steve Smith.
Lucas Wolfe won his first career sprint car title this season at Port Royal. Wolfe won twice at the Port on the way to the championship. His father, Randy Wolfe, won his only sprint car point title at the Port back in 1982.
In addition to Hammaker, York’s Chase Dietz and Hanover’s Issac Sneeringer also won 358 sprint crowns in the area. Dietz used four wins to secure the Williams Grove 358 sprint title. It was Dietz’s first title at the Grove and came a year after winning Lincoln’s 358 crown.
Sneeringer won his first career 358 sprint title at Trailway, where he won five times.
The 360 sprints raced at Selinsgrove this year, and T.J. Stutts won the point crown there. Stutts won five times at Selinsgrove this year. The title is his first there.
Lincoln banquet: Lincoln Speedway held its awards banquet on Saturday evening, with champions Montieth and Hammaker picking up the lion’s share of the awards.
However there were some special awards presented as well.
When longtime car owner Harry Fletcher died late in the racing season, Lincoln management decided to name its sportsmanship award in Fletcher’s honor. Over the years, Fletcher was one of the nicest guys in the pit area, a trait he passed on to his family. His son, Bobby, won numerous sportsmanship awards during his driving career, and grandson Cody had also collected some sportsmanship hardware.
So perhaps it comes as no surprise that the Harry Fletcher Memorial Sportsmanship Award winner in Lincoln’s 358 sprint class was again Cody Fletcher this season. It was an emotional moment, for sure, when Bobby Fletcher presented the award in memory of his father to his son. Most of the family, including Bobby’s mother, Sandy, looked on.
In the 410 sprint ranks, the Harry Fletcher Memorial Sportsmanship Award was presented to Dover’s Austin Hogue.
Rookie of the Year in the 410 sprint ranks went to Dietz, who in addition to racing 358 sprints at the Grove, raced a 410 sprinter for Scott Gobrecht at Lincoln. Dietz got his first career 410 sprint win late in the season.
In the 358 sprint ranks, teen Cole Young won the Rookie of the Year award. Young also scored his first career win this season.
Most Improved Driver awards went to Lewisberry’s Kyle Moody in the sprint ranks and Fletcher in the 358 sprint ranks. Moody secured his first top-five point finish with fourth in the standings. Fletcher was fifth in the 358 standings this season.
Port Royal banquet: Port Royal also hosted its awards banquet Saturday, with Wolfe, late model champion Mike Lupfer, econo late model champion Andrew Yoder and 305 sprint champion Jeff Miller taking home championship hardware.
In special awards for the sprint cars, Tyler Baer was named Rookie of the Year, second-place point man Dylan Cisney was named Most Improved and Ryan Taylor took home the Sportsmanship honors.
For the late models, Yoder, who did double duty, took home Rookie of the Year, Trent Brenneman was Most Improved, and Mitch Hack won Sportsmanship honors.
Tim Fedder was the econo late model Sportsmanship award winner.
Selinsgrove inks dates: The new management team at Selinsgrove isn’t wasting any time.
Tony Stewart’s All Star sprint circuit will return to the speedway for the first time in 16 years in late April. The Appalachian Mountain Late Model Tour will also return to the speedway in 2016. That’s an early June date.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.